Summary: Sampson was physically the strongest man who ever lived. Yet, he was also a very weak man, and his weakness overcame his strength.
The weak strong man. (1)
The retrogression of Sampson.
Judges 13: 1. 04/10/05
I want to start a series of sermons on the man Sampson. I am calling it the weak strong man. I believe we can learn a lot as we look into his life and see his ups and downs.
I will start out by introducing Samson from what we can see in the pages of the Scripture. In way of introduction, Sampson was physically the strongest man who ever lived. Yet, he was also a very weak man, and his weakness overcame his strength. His weakness, like that of Solomon’s was women.
Sampson was the last judge written of in the book of judges. In the book of Judges, we learn more details of Sampson’s life than we do any of the judges. To be honest, what we do learn is a most tragic tale of failure. That is the reason we might be surprised to find him mentioned in the 11th chapter of Hebrews, the heroes of faith. But there was in his life several times he did demonstrate great faith. However, Sampson did not live a consistent life of faith. Had he lived consistently a life of faith, he would have been no doubt the greatest judge.
Now I think that sort of sets the stage for our first study. In our first study, I want us to see the retrogression of Sampson. Actually, what we read in the first verse is something that Israel did quite often. Look at verse 1, “and the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines 40 years.”
Now I want you to note first of all THE CHARACTER IN THE RETROGRESSION.
Did you notice the verse says Israel did evil again? It seems as you read in the book of judges Israel would be up and then down. When they would do evil in the sight of God, God would raise up a judge to be a messenger of God. When things got bad, Israel would cry out to God and God would deliver.
Now it was God who judged their conduct as being evil and that was according to his standard. Israel might have sanctioned their conduct, and even encouraged it, but when it comes to deciding what is good or what is evil, it doesn’t make any difference what man might think. The determining factor as to whether conduct is good or evil is what God says about the conduct. Our country today may sanction and legalize homosexuality, abortion, gambling and pornography, but that does not make these deeds legitimate in God’s sight. Church, our country doesn’t have the last say. And whenever Israel encouraged all of these things, the morals went to the bottom. It is true about our nation. Bad doctrine always produces bad morals.
I want you to notice not only the character of the retrogression but also THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE RETROGRESSION. Look again at the phrase, “in the sight of the Lord.”
That means that God saw their evil conduct. So, Israel’s sin was not hidden from God’s view. Since they could not escape from the observation of God, they could not escape the judgment.
The lesson is that all through the Bible all our deeds are done in plain view of God’s eyes. We are told in Jeremiah 16:17, “for mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their inequity hidden from mine eyes.”
When we consider this thought we need also to consider that God also sees our thoughts. We are told in Psalms 139: 2 “thou understandest my thought afar off.” When we keep this in mind, I think it will encourage us to live godly lives. God always sees good or evil, the deeds of man.
I want you to note lastly, THE CHASTISEMENT FOR THE RETROGRESSION.
God saw and God will react. The Philistines were the nation God used in Sampson’s time to punish the Israelites for their evil. Wonder what or whom God will use to punish our nation?
We may think our nation is too strong for any enemy to come in and defeat. The Philistines land was but a small strip, so small they only had five cities. The cities were Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron and Gath. Philistia, though it was so small, could capture Israel, a much larger nation, demonstrates what sin can do to the strength of God’s people.
God demonstrated grace in spite of Israel’s sin and disobedience and rose up a judge. God demonstrated grace when he sent a deliverer, our deliverer Jesus. For by grace are we saved and by grace or we kept.